Hailstorm Spam: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against It

Spam email isn't anything new. In the early days of email, cybercriminals were able to cast a wide net with spam email and get unsuspecting users to click on an infected link. It's a little tougher today, with email providers setting up spam filters to block corrupted emails from entering the inbox.

This hasn't stopped cybercriminals from developing other methods of spam email distribution. To protect your business in the event that a cyber hacker cracks into your system, get a cyber breach insurance plan. To protect yourself from the nefarious dealings of a cybercriminal, read on for five helpful pieces of cyber advice.

1. Educate Yourself
Anti-spam filters have saved technology users a lot of headaches, but it hasn't stopped cyber thugs from developing other ways to gain entry to your email. In mid-December 2016, researchers at Cisco Talos discovered a new spamming method: hailstorm. Hailstorm, according to Dark Reading, builds on the snowshoe method. Snowshoeing is when a hacker sends a mass amount of email from a mass amount of IP addresses. To make sure the infected spam goes unnoticed by the spam filter, the amount of spam in a snowshoe attack is relatively low.

The hailstorm method is much like snowshoe. However, unlike snowshoe, the hailstorm method sends a massive amount of spam quickly in short spurts. The more you know about what spammers and hackers are doing to get you to make an unsafe click, the better you'll be able to navigate your inbox should a spam email get misfiled as \"safe.\"

2. Use Anti-Spam Software
Your email already comes ready with a spam filter. Unfortunately, the filter will not always identify a spam email in time (this is the M.O. of a hailstorm attack) and it will be sitting in your inbox, waiting for you to click on it. Anti-spam software is another safeguard against scheming spammers. Anti-spam software learns which messages to flag automatically and gives you the control to say what constitutes a spam message. This means that if you're receiving messages from an unknown email or IP address, you can flag it as spam and the anti-spam software will automatically re-adjust and remove all unknown senders to the spam folder. This ensures that you will rarely be hit by a spam email in your inbox again.

3. Encode Your Email Address
If you use LinkedIn, Twitter or some other social media tool, you will have listed your email address as way for people to get in contact with you. The modern tech blog MakeUseof recommends encoding your email if you believe it needs to be shared publicly online. When you encode your email address it becomes unreadable to spambots. Spambots take public email addresses from the web and use them to send out hundreds of thousands of infected emails. When a spambot can't read your email address, they'll pass right over it.  

4. Use a Junk Email Address for Online Leisure Activities
Every time you make a purchase online, you're asked to sign-in as a guest with an email address. How many websites have your email address on record? To keep from getting promotional ads and eventually a whole lot of spam, designate one email address as your leisure address, this is where newsletters and online retailers will send their promo information and where spammers will be left with essentially a dead account.

5. Don't Open Mail from an E-Address You Don't Recognize
It's incredibly tempting to open up an email from an address you don't readily recognize. Are you being offered a reward? Have you won something? Suddenly that email seems like it could be worth one million dollars-it isn't. That email is more than likely laced with malware and meant only to infect your network and steal your information. For all email addresses you don't recognize, make a separate folder or have them flagged for spam. If it's from someone that needs to reach you, they'll find another way.

The internet is a wonderful tool, but if used unwisely, it can cut you to the quick. Don't lose out because you opened spam. Get cyber breach insurance with CyberPolicy, it's a failsafe that'll protect you when you need it most.

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